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Charles Barkley doesn’t think the Suns will make the playoffs

(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Charles Barkley was one of the early believers in the 2019-20 Phoenix Suns.

That doesn’t mean he’s sold on the team as a contender, though. During the NBA on TNT Halftime Show on Thursday during the Suns game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Barkley said he doesn’t think Phoenix will make the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference.

He reiterated this on TNT after the show.

“I don’t think they’re going to make the top eight,” he said.

The Suns entered Thursday 7-6 with two one-point losses and wins over the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers. But after a 124-121 loss to the Pelicans, they’ve lost three games in a row as injuries have knocked starters Ricky Rubio and Aron Baynes from their lineup.

Will Barkley be right about this regular season prediction?

The Suns remained the eighth seed in the Western Conference after losing to New Orleans. It’s still extremely early, and with Rubio and Baynes struggling through injury, they have not looked like the team they were that jumped to a 6-3 start.

Barkley thinks the Suns are in a playoff spot at the moment because some postseason stalwarts have been “disappointing.” He singled out the San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers as two teams he expected to be in the race, but are instead near the bottom of the Western Conference, ahead of only the Golden State Warriors, another team many expected to make the playoffs.

Shaquille O’Neal didn’t necessarily disagree with Barkley, though he wouldn’t go as far as saying the Suns wouldn’t make it.

He thinks that once both the Suns and Pelicans are at full strength — New Orleans is missing rookie Zion Williamson — one of the teams could win a spot.

The Pelicans, now winners of three games in a row, sit at 10th in the Western Conference with a 6-9 record.

“I think one of them could sneak in,” O’Neal said. “Not a definitive … but I think one could sneak in.”

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